Topics - B-29 Black Tuesday (Namsi, Korea)

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Most recent update to this page: March 22, 2018



The Korean War Educator was contacted by Mary Foulks in March of 2015.  Her father-in-law was Capt. James Arch Foulks Jr., a B-29 pilot assigned to the 372nd Bomber Squadron, 307th Bomber Wing, in 1951.   In September of 1951, U.S. aerial reconnaissance discovered a build-up of 18 new North Korean jet-capable airfields in the Saamcham area.  The US decided to destroy the airfields before they became operational.  The largest of these airfields was Namsi.  With new concrete runways, the airfield would have the capability to stage jet aircraft.

On the morning of October 23, 1951, nine B-29 Superfortresses took off from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa to strike the airfield at Namsi.* They were in three flights--Able, Baker, and Charlie.

  • Able - 44-61816 (Fogler's B-29), 44-87760 (Lewis' B-39), 42-94045 (Krumm's B-29)
  • Baker - 44-86295 (Reeter's B-29), 44-61940 (Foulks' B-29), 44-27347 (Griner's B-29)
  • Charlie - 44-70151 (Shields' B-29), 44-61824 (Dempsey's B-29), 44-86395 (Field's B-29)

Russian MiG15's attacked the B-29s, and the result was that six of the nine American aircraft were lost.  It was the highest percentage of U.S. bombers ever lost in a single mission, hence the name "Black Tuesday".  There were numerous casualties.

More information about the nine B-29's involved in Black Tuesday (and their crew members) is being sought by the Korean War Educator.  To add to this new page contact: Lynnita Brown, 111 E. Houghton St., Tuscola, Illinois 61953; ph. 217-253-4620 (home) or 253-5171 (work); or e-mail  See also: "B-29s in the Korean War" on this page of the Korean War Educator.

[*KWE Note:  According to Earl McGill, author of Black Tuesday Over Namsi, "Official records show eight aircraft, but official records are in error. There were nine, a fact that took me the better part of my research to uncover. I have theories as to why the ninth was left out, but no documentation. Lead navigator’s log also shows nine. (There were ten, including spare and one aborted.)"]

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Serial Number 44-61940

When the plane engine of B-29 (44-61940) caught fire, the B-29 headed for safety, but before it could get back to base the crew had to bail out in the Yellow Sea.  Of the crew of 13, one was picked up after landing in the Yellow Sea by an Australian destroyer, one man's body was found the next day washed ashore.  Five of the men were taken prisoners of war and returned in 1953.  The remaining men were not heard from again. 

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Crew Members

  • Black, Cpt. Wayne Forrest - MIA (radio operator)
  • Botter, TSgt William Joseph - MIA/POW (flight engineer)
  • Cogswell, Maj. Robert Whitney - MIA/POW
  • Foulks, Cpt. James Arch Jr - MIA/KIA  (commander-pilot)
  • Coffey, Cpl. Arthur G. - KIA (tail gunner)(Body recovered)
  • Beissner, 1st Lt. Fred Jr. - (rescued at sea) co-pilot
  • Fuehrer, SSgt Alios Anton  - MIA/POW
  • Jones, Sgt James H. - POW returned '53 (left gunner)
  • Kisser, TSgt Kenneth E.  - POW returned '53 (gunner)
  • MacClean, Cpl Gerald Charles - POW returned '53 (right gunner)
  • Mooradian, 1st Lt.  Ara - POW/MIA (bombardier)
  • Strine, TSgt John T. - POW returned '53 (radio operator)
  • Wentworth, 1st Lt. Lloyd G. - POW returned '53 (navigator)

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In Memoriam - Crew Members

The public is welcome to add photos and information about the following crew members of this B-29 Superfortress.

1st Lt. Fred Beissner, Jr.

He was rescued by the Australian destroyer Murchison northwest of Chinnampo.

NEWPORT NEWS - Fred L. Beissner, Jr., a resident of Newport News since 1972, passed away on July 28, 2015 at the age of 87. Predeceased by his parents, Fred L. Beissner, Sr., and Lucille Smith Beissner, and his younger brother, Kenneth C. Beissner, Fred is survived by his wife of nearly 47 years, Karen S. Beissner; his four children from his first marriage: Sherri Lynn Beissner of California, Kenneth C. Beissner, and wife Colleen Pilliod of Virginia, Mark S. Beissner, and wife Kim of California, and Fred L. Beissner, III (Trey) of Arizona; his three grandchildren: Jeremy J. Beissner and Heather L. Beissner of California, and Fred L. Beissner, IV of Arizona; and his former daughter-in-law, Sonia Beissner of Arizona. Born in Houston, Texas and raised in San Antonio, Fred graduated from Brackenridge High School in 1946, and was accepted into the Army Air Corps Cadet program at Texas A&M. Because of his interest in airplanes, he moved on to Pilot training, flying B-29 Bombers. During the Korean Conflict, he was based in Okinawa and completed over 40 missions as Co-Pilot. In October, 1951, his plane was one of many B-29s shot down in "MiG Alley" in a battle over Namsi. After leaving the Air Force, Fred attended the University of Texas, earning an Aeronautical Engineering Degree, followed by a Master's Degree from Southern Methodist University. During his working career, Fred was employed at Convair, General Dynamics, and Ling-Temco-Vaught in Texas before coming to Virginia as a Contractor for 22 years with LTV and Lockheed-Martin at NASA Langley. Fred donated his body to the Virginia State Anatomical Program. At his request, no Memorial Service is planned. The family suggests donations to a favorite charity if friends desire.

Published in Daily Press on Aug. 1, 2015

Capt. Wayne Forrest Black

Possibly transferred to POW camps in Russia and/or China.   He was born May 29, 1927 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, son of James Hillard and Eva Grooms Black.  He attended Lascassas High School in Lascassas, Tennessee (1945) and Murfreesboro State Teacher's College, Murfreesboro (1949).  Among the military schools he attended were: San Antonio, Texas (OCS, AAF administrative OCS, November 1946); Scott AFB, Illinois (communication officer course, February 1948); Randolph Field, Texas (basic pilot, October 1948); Williams Field, Arizona (advanced pilot, December 1948); Ellington AFB, Texas (navigation, October 1950); Randolph AFB, Texas (B-29 combat crew training, March 1951).  His previous occupation was automobile parts salesman.  There are memorial markers for him in three places, including a stone in Milton Cemetery, Milton, Tennessee.  He was married to Ava Black of Clovis, New Mexico.  His siblings were Hubert "Pete" G. Black, William Denny Black, Buddy Black, Sam Black and Bob Black.

TSgt. William Joseph Botter

TSgt. William Joseph Botter
(Click picture for a larger view)

Born on August 27, 1924, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, TSgt. Botter was the son of William Thomas Botter (1898-1965) and Martha L. Botter (1904-1992).  He enlisted at New Cambria, Pennsylvania, serving in World War II from 30 January 1943 until 10 August 1945.  His home of record when he died as a POW was Dawson, Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He graduated from Johnstown Central Catholic High School in 1943.  He was married to Wilma Jean Dugger, and their son, Thomas John Botter, was born during 1950 in Topeka, Kansas.

He was awarded the Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, the Prisoner of War Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Cpl. Arthur Gerard Coffey

Born May 24, 1933 in Lowell, Massachusetts, he was the son of Augusta C. Brock Coffey (1894-1946).  His remains were recovered by a crash boat near Taehwado Bay, Korea.  He is buried in St. Patrick Cemetery, Lowell.  His siblings were Mrs. Gerard Maurice (Marie Geraldine Coffey) Marchand (1920-1995) and Mrs. Edward D. (Gertrude T. Coffey) Flanagan (1921-2015).  Sergeant Coffey was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

Maj. Robert Whitney Cogswell

Maj. Robert Whitney Cogswell

Born August 18, 1917, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he was from Bridgeport, Connecticut at the time of his service in Korea.  He served in the European Theater in World War II.  He was the son of Wesley Herbert and Emma Alberta Cogswell of Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He was married to Dorothy Gene Vellbrecht Cogswell of Pittsburgh.

After graduating from Eigewood High School, Pennsylvania in 1935, he attended the University of Pittsburgh for three years from 1935 to 1939. From 1935 to 1941 he was a bookkeeper and clerk.  He was the District Representative General Electric from 1945 to 1947.

He attended the following military schools: Santa Ana, California (pre-flight, 1942); Cal Aero, California (primary, 1942); Polaris Flight Academy, California (basic training, 1942); Victorville, California (advanced training, 1942); Hobbs, New Mexico (B-17 transition, 1943); Tyndall AFB, Florida (air tactical school, 1950).

Major Cogswell was listed as Missing in Action and was presumed dead on February 28, 1954. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial. 

For his leadership and valor, Major Cogswell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.


Newspaper article - "Missing Korean War Soldiers' Families Still Suffer" (excerpt)
Greenwich Time Digital Edition, authored by Anne Amato, published Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Robert Whitney Cogswell, a major in the U.S. Air Force who was from Bridgeport, was a crew member of a B-29A superfortress bomber that was attacked by enemy MIGs near the Namsi Airfield on Oct. 23, 1951. The plane headed toward the Sea of Japan and crashed. His body was lost at sea. He was listed as missing in action and presumed dead on Feb. 28, 1954.

Cogswell had also served in World War II and was a hero. He had been medically grounded after aborting a mission to Nantes, France, in October 1943. According to published reports, Cogswell was the pilot of a B17 that suffered a runaway prop and fire in one of the engines that caused the crew to bail out. Cogswell stayed with the plane and made sure it didn't crash in a populated area. The plane, called the Lady Luck, crashed near the Medstead Airdrome near Winchester, England. The bombs on board didn't explode, but Cogswell, then a lieutenant, tore ligaments in his back.

In a letter to his family following the incident, he was almost nonchalant about what happened, saying losing an engine wasn't unusual. He said he couldn't jettison the bombs because he was over England. He said no one was killed or injured and no property was damaged "except a few cabbages." In 2003, the town of New Alresford, England, where he ditched the plane, honored Cogswell with a permanent marker to his memory. But whatever family he had never got to bury his body from Korea.


Eddie Deerfield of Palm Harbor, Florida submitted the following to The Graybeards magazine and it appeared in the March-April 2008 issue:

"Captain Robert W. Cogswell was my B-17 pilot in the 303rd Bomb Group during World War II. Returning from our 14th mission against a Nazi submarine base in Occupied France on 26
September 1943, we had to bail out over the south of England as our bomber began to disintegrate. Injuries were minor among the 10-man crew, with the exception of the pilot, who was last to jump. The opening of the chute tore ligaments in his back. He never flew another mission during WW II, but went on to train and serve on B-29s during the Korean War. I was based in Pusan in 1951-52 as commander of a detachment of the 1st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group. Bob and I had exchanged letters, when one of mine addressed to him at his air base in Okinawa came back stamped MISSING IN ACTION."

Capt. James Arch Foulks Jr.

Captain Foulks was born March 3, 1922 in Union City, Tennessee, son of James Arch Foulks Sr. and Fannie B. Wilson Foulks of Union City.  He graduated from Union City High School in 1939.  From April 1941 to February 1942 he was a telephone repairman.

After joining the Air Force he attended the following military schools: San Antonio, Texas (pre-flight, June 1944); Sikeston, Missouri (primary pilot, September 1944); Independence, Missouri (basic pilot, December 1944); Waco, Texas (advanced training, March 1945); Hendricks Field, Florida (B-17 transition, May 1945); Maxwell AFB, Alabama (B-27 transition, August 1945); Kelly Field, Texas (salvage course, April 1946).  His World War II service was in the Zone of Interior.

Captain Foulks had a wife Alma, and a four-year old son, James "Jay" Arch Foulks III.  The Captain's wife was pregnant with a daughter, but lost her while carrying her after she got the Missing in Action wire.

Capt. James Foulks Jr.
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Capt. James Foulks Jr. in Okinawa, 1951
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SSgt. Alios Anton Fuehrer

Sergeant Fuehrer was born November 08, 1927 in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, son of Albert and Elizabeth Fuehrer of Rosemont, Pennsylvania.  He graduated from Wayne High School, Pennsylvania, in 1946.  After joining the Air Force he attended military school (radio operator-mechanic course 2756, April 1947).  His wife was Nancy L. Fuehrer of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.

He was a POW who was possibly transferred to POW camps in Russia and/or China.  Staff Sergeant Fuehrer was awarded the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. 

Sgt. James H. Jones

From Charlotte, North Carolina.

TSgt. Kenneth Eugene Kisser

Born November 3, 1919, he died February 04, 1999 and is buried in Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida.  He was married to Leonila Aligada Pelayo (1941-2011).  TSgt. Kisser was a World War II, Korea, and Vietnam War veteran of the US Air Force.

Cpl. Gerald Charles MacClean

At one point he and his wife Norma Jean (Harris) MacClean were living in West Melbourne, Florida.  Believed to be living in Spring, Texas.

1st Lt. Ara Mooradian

Born November 11, 1924 in Fresno, California, the son of Nish Toros and Annie Mooradian of Fresno.  He graduated from Sanger (California) high school in 1943 and attended Fresno State College, Fresno, industrial education.  The military schools he attended included Sioux Falls, South Dakota (radio school, 1943); Sioux City, Iowa (cadet training detachment, aircrew, 1944); Santa Ana, California (bombardier preflight, 1944); Victorville, California (advanced bombardier, dead-reckoning navigation, 1944).

He was taken POW and was possibly transferred to POW camps in Russia and/or China.  Captain Mooradian was awarded the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.  He was not married.

TSgt. John T. Strine

OZARK, Mo. — John Thomas Strine, 90, died at 11:09 a.m. Monday, August 17, 2015, in Ozark, Missouri.  Born July 6, 1925, in Milton, he was one of three sons born to Lester Leland Strine and Helen Mary (Richardson) Strine. He was married to Ladema (Gray) Strine, who preceded him in death on May 19, 2004. His wife of 10 years, Ruby Charlene Strine, survives.

On July 20, 1943, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps and was a radio operator on a B-17 flying 25 missions over Germany. On November 16, 1945, he was discharged due to the ending of World War II. On October 5, 1948, he re-enlisted during the Korean War, also as a radio operator on a B-29, flying 24 successful missions over Korea. On October 23, 1951, on his 25th mission, their plane was shot down over China. Only six of the 13 crew members survived with the rest captured by the Koreans and Chinese. Mr. Strine was taken by the Chinese and held Prisoner of War for 22 months, being released after the truce was signed by China and the United States.

He and Mary lived in England for four years and adopted a 2-month-old German boy, Roy Andrew Strine.  On June 30, 1966, he was discharged from the military following 20 years of service. He and Mary lived in Washington State, where he was a member of the Church of Christ, serving as deacon for several years. He also drove a gas truck for the next 20 years, retiring from the Teamsters.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Roy Andrew and Carrie Strine of Washington; stepson and daughter-in-law, Mike and Vicki Morgan of Wichita, Kansas; nephew, George Strine and wife Anette of Shippensburg; nephew, Jime Strine and wife Mary Jean of Edgewood, Ky; nieces, Gloria Hoedle, Joanna Haught, Kay Beaver, Linda Leiby and Deborah Miller; stepchildren, Michael and Anna Osborn of Iowa, Beverly and David Wilson of Crane, Mo., Jeff and Charlott Akins of Crane, Mo., Bruce Harp of Nixa, Mo; and a host of grandchildren, stepgrandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday in Jamesville Cemetery, Stone County, Mo., with full military honors.

1st Lt. Lloyd Goodwin Wentworth

1st Lt. Lloyd Goodwin Wentworth
(Click picture for a larger view)

Col. Lloyd G. Wentworth, Jr., Ringgold, Georgia, died Wednesday, June 15, 2005, at Palmyra Medical Center.  Entombment was at Crown Hill Mausoleum with full military honors. Chaplin Andy Goode and Rev. Roy Cook officiated.

Colonel Wentworth was born September 17, 1928.  He retired from the U S Air Force serving in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. He was a former POW who received a Purple Heart.  He flew over 200 combat missions in Korea.

Colonel Wentworth was a member of the American Legion Post 40, the VFW, Past Master at Masonic Lodge #708. He was a Worthy Patron twice with the Order Eastern Star #450, Hasan Temple and the Scottish Rite. He was a member of the Southwest Georgia Sportsmen Club, Georgia Defense Force, Air Force Sergeants Association and the Golden Eagles with the NRA.

He was preceded in death by his wife Carlene E. Wentworth and a son Lloyd G. Wentworth, III.  Survivors include his daughter, Dawn E. Smith, Chattanooga, Tennessee; sons, Raymond Wentworth and his wife Lynn, Jasper, Georgia, Mahlon Wentworth and his wife Teresa, Albany, Georgia; and seven grandchildren.

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Serial Number 44-87760

This B-29 was damaged during Black Tuesday, but was repaired and reassigned to the 98th Bomb Group.  The list of crew members was supplied by Robert Bergstrom of Minnesota in January 2016.

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Crew Members :

  • Bata, T/Sgt. Frank B. "Pappy" - right gunner

  • Bergstrom, 1Lt. Robert L. - VO

  • Bruegeman, S/Sgt. Donald A. - left gunner

  • Carpenter, Sgt. Charles C. - RO

  • Fairchild, T/Sgt. Malcolm L. - central fire controller

  • Lewis, Capt. James R. - aircraft commander

  • Myles, 2Lt. Robert D. - pilot

  • Pennington, 1Lt. Jerry L. - navigator

  • Puett, T/Sgt. Joseph E. - FE

  • Thevenet, 1Lt. Charles J. Jr. - bombardier

  • Webb, S/Sgt. Jerry M. - tail gunner

In Memoriam - Crew Members

T/Sgt. Frank B. "Pappy" Bata

Memories of World War II

Taken from the Eastern Arizona Courier, Safford, Arizona
July 29, 1998
Staff Writer D. R. Hall

In World War II, it was unlikely that any man would live through more than five missions while serving a tour of duty with the United States Air Force. Frank Bata, however, successfully flew 54 missions during World War II and 43 more during the Korean conflict. Flying those missions earned him the right to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia in June.

Over the course of his career, Bata was stationed in England and took part in several historical events including the first three daylight raids to occur over Berlin. He lost several friends and had many close encounters with death while fighting for the government he believed in. After one mission over Korea, when his scanner blister was shot through by enemy jet fighters, he said, "If it hadn't been for the hand of God holding me back, I would've been blown out without a parachute."

His fearlessness and dedication to the United States during his 26 years of service earned him several medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the AF Commendation Medal.

Bata's mother and father came to he Untied States from the Czech Republic in 1905. His family share his dedication to this country and at one point during World War II, five Bata boys were serving in the military. Bata's wife, Doris, said, "Because his parents came over to this country, he felt he owed it to the country (to serve in the military). This was his way of paying it back."

Bata met Doris in California and the two were married in 1961. After he retired in 1967, they moved to Arizona to take care of Doris' mother. He began working for the State of Arizona in 1969 at the Franklin Port of Entry. The couple settled between Duncan and Three-Way where they lived until 1990. They moved to Thatcher that year so Frank could be close to medical services the hospital offered.

While living in the Gila Valley, Bata was a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He spent much of his free time talking to area youth about the benefits of having a military career and convinced many to enlist. He flew a United States flag in his front yard every day that weather permitted and was very humble about his military achievements, Doris said. "The kids in the neighborhood knew how much flying the flag meant to him," she said, "and after he died, the little girl across the street, who is probably about seven, brought over a little flag that her teacher had given her on Memorial Day and asked that it be put with Frank." Doris granted the girl's wish and the flag rests in the same niche at Arlington that Frank does. "The people at Arlington acted like it (the little flag) was ten-feet long," she added. "Everyone there was so nice. I will be buried there with him also."

Frank Bata escaped death many times while serving as an armored gunner for the United States Air Force. He is pictured here after surviving a mission in Korea in 1951. During that flight, an estimated 150 MIG-15s attacked the formation he was in. He lost his radio headset and got a bump on the head after MIG shells pierced his scanner blister.

NOTE: Recently I received a call from the owner of this newspaper. He said that he had heard of the incident regarding the MISUNDERSTANDING about an obituary for Frank and asked if he could send a reporter to get the information regarding the Arlington burial. I agreed. Corrections: Frank was buried July 7, 1998 with full Military Honors. He served 20+ years. We came to AZ and bought my mother's house when she returned to the East."

PS. Frank flew on B29s during the Korean War doing over 40 missions before his blister was shot out. Then on B66s doing recon out of Japan. His last service was with SAC on B52s out of Travis AFB, California."

1Lt Robert L. Bergstrom

T/Sgt. Donald Arthur Bruegeman

Donald Arthur Bruegeman was born in Idaho in 1925, a son of Arthur A. and Sybella K. Bruegeman.

Bruegeman was the top turret gunner and engineer during the following incident that occurred in World War II:

"Mission 355 for the 429th Bomb Squadron was scheduled for 14 February 1945 from Amendola.  The day was cloudy as the B-17’s took off for a bombing run to the Schechat oil refinery near Vienna, Austria.  1st Lt. Robert E. Davis was piloting the crew of “Hell’s Angel”, a B-17G with aircraft serial number 44-6659.  The Davis crew was flying their 13th mission.  They had completed bombs away over the target when at about 1245 hours the aircraft was hit by flak.  The plane began to lose altitude and stray from the formation.  All crew members were able to bail out and deploy their parachutes.  The aircraft crash landed in the Boesing Modra area near Pezinok, Slovenia.  The entire crew were captured and taken to a collection point.  Missing Air Crew Report 12107, which was filed after the aircraft failed to return home, includes captured German records relating to the interrogation of the crew by intelligence officers."

Sgt. Charles C. Carpenter

T/Sgt. Malcolm L. Fairchild

Capt. James R. Lewis

2Lt. Robert D. Myles

1Lt. Jerry L. Pennington

Lieutenant Pennington was born September 20, 1924 and died March 14, 1989.  He is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

T/Sgt. Joseph E. Puett Sr.

Sergeant Puett died October 25, 1983 in California.  The following recollection of Joseph Puett Jr.'s memories of his father was sent to the Korean War Educator:

My Dad
Joseph E. Puett Jr.
January 07, 2018

When I first met my dad, he was just a man that I had never seen before.  I was only maybe 18 months old when my mother took my older half-brother, who was 18 months older than me, and myself, who was still in diapers, to meet someone.  At the time I couldn't tell you where we went, since I was too young to realize and was more interested in just playing on the floor where my mother had put me.  I couldn't know how long we were at this place where we were, but from outside came a loud roar.  Shortly after the sound stopped, people started coming in through the door from the direction the sound had come from.  Most were men dressed in tan or brown clothing that were met by their wives or girlfriends who hugged and kissed them before leaving hurriedly out through another door.  But, when one tall, lanky, dark-haired man who was dressed in the same kind of tan clothes that the other men wore entered the room, my older brother leapt to his feet and ran to meet him.  I just continued to play on the floor, but then the man came over to me and started to talk to me and my mother, who was standing over me.  I wasn't sure I liked this man or not, so really didn't want anything to do with him.  I just wanted to keep playing on the floor.  Little did I know that he was just coming home from Japan and Korea after having been gone for some time.  You see, I was born at Fort Reilly Army Hospital on September 26, 1951, just about a year and a half before the reason for this child's account of when I first met my dad.

 Recently I received a late-night phone call from Lynnita Brown, a representative from the Korean War Educator website at, who had told me that she was researching the name of my father in conjunction with something that had happened during the Korean War while he was serving with the United States Air Force.  She referred me to an air battle that had taken place on October 23, 1951 called Black Tuesday, where U.S. B-29 aircraft had been on a mission to bomb an airfield in North Korea called "Namsi".

Having never been told anything about my dad's deployments, even from him, I had no idea what she was talking about--just that I knew that my dad had been a flight engineer for most of his career and I had seen some picture albums that my mother had kept hidden from us kids when we were young.  These were lost some time long ago and were not available for my adult viewing.

He had met my mother, who was from Junction City, Kansas, while stationed at Fort Reilly or the airfield at Topeka, Kansas, or at a newly-built airfield in Salina, Kansas.  He had spent time training at Chanute Air Force Base at Rantoul, Illinois, where he was trained as a flight engineer and ended up deploying to Japan sometime after hostilities broke out between North and South Korea.  In my entire time growing up Dad was very much a closed-off, stoic individual who didn't talk that much about what he did during his war-time deployments.

It took the phone call from Lynnita Brown and the little bit of information she gave me to put me on a path that I knew little about.  Even after spending time myself with the USAF during Vietnam and having been deployed to the Far East for two years, my dad never talked about his missions over North Korea.  I do remember that he always insisted that he did not dream or that he had blocked out whatever he had done during that period in his life.  I now wish he had been more open with me, as I had spent two years roaming around the Far East.  I was stationed at Yokota AB, Japan, from November 1970 to November 1972 after having been trained in Automatic Flight Control Systems at Chanute AFB in Illinois also.

My dad and I were not as close as a father and son might have been.  Because of differences, my father and mother got divorced sometime around my tenth birthday.  I spent the rest of my teen years with my mother until going out to visit my dad in California in the summer of 1968.  You see, Dad had remarried and retired from the Air Force at Travis AFB in California in 1966 after having been a flight engineer on many different aircraft over the years of his career.  He made flying missions to and from Vietnam on what he told me was the "Coffin Run", bringing those who had died in battle in Vietnam home.  After having to perform this soulful solemn duty for some time he felt that he had had enough of war and retired as an Air Force Senior Master Sergeant in 1966.

Under his leadership and control, a wild, directionless kid (myself) decided to finish high school in California.  I went from D's and F's in Kansas to a High B average at a school in California, but had to take six solids and a night school class in American history to graduate.  I didn't have any time to get into trouble and learned that school wasn't quite as bad as it had been back in Kansas.  After graduating from high schoo,l Dad let me kick around for the summer, but one night sat me down for a father to son talk about where I was headed in life.  He asked me a simple question, "Son, do you think you're ready for college?" to which I said, "NO!"  Then he asked the question, "Do you think you could do better going into the service?", to which I replied, "Yes, Dad, now that I will probably be going anyway when I turn eighteen because of the draft."  The next day he and I went on a man's journey to the Air Force recruiter in Vallejo, California, where I was introduced to the Air Force and its many options and where I was given a little time to decide if I wanted to join.  Officially I joined the USAF in July and reported for induction in August of 1969 at age 17.  I had to get permission from my mother back in Kansas because of my age.  Dad sent my draft notice to me after I turned 18 as I was in basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas.  We had a pretty good laugh at the absurdity of it because I was already in the Air Force.

When I received the late-night phone call asking about my dad, I was at first surprised as it was about 9:30 at night, long after telemarketers can call.  But once my wife answered the call and handed the phone to me, I tentatively answered the questions that were asked of me.  I know I was kind of short and cryptic, but, hey, it was late and it was a pretty out of the blue phone call.  But it put me on a path of research into what the lady had talked about, which led to my researching the subject of Black Tuesday and B-29s over Korea--which led me to look on Amazon for a certain book by Earl J. McGill, Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.) called Black Tuesday Over Namsi.  In it, my dad, who I'm named after as a Junior, was listed as being a crew member on one of the planes that were involved in the mission over "Namsi".  In one of the pictures of an aircraft and crew on page 30, my dad is standing in the middle of the back row almost directly under the hole in the tail section of the plane he was flight engineer on.

I'm sorry to say that Dad died in Vallejo, California, in Solano County, October 25, 1983 of an aortic aneurism.  According to his wishes he was to be cremated and his ashes were to be scattered over the Pacific Ocean from a small plane as he had flown over this ocean many times during his long Air Force career.  At the time of his death, I was attending a small junior college in Northern Arkansas.  It was just after I had reported my mid-term grades by phone to him.  We had made plans, he and I, for me to move back to California after finishing my associate's degree in business and data processing.  I was to join in business with him at his Northern California insurance brokerage firm.  Due to the distance involved and the timing of his desires, I was not able to be at his planned-for and quickly-scheduled burial as were his wishes.

I struggled with his untimely death for some time, but was able to finish my associate's degree.  After losing Dad I felt I no longer had a reason to return to California.  My step-sisters out there even said that was a better decision on my part.  I did what Dad always told me--that when you start something you need to finish what you started.  I finished my degree and continued here in the Arkansas Ozarks.  I have for the last 23 years worked for a major poultry processing company here in the Ozarks, was able to go back to school to get a second associate's degree in general studies, and have been able to complete my bachelor's degree in Professional Studies in Information Technology in 2014.  I am soon to graduate with a Masters in Information Systems and Technology Management from Capella University by way of their online courses.

So, Dad, if you are up there in the wild blue with other members of your long-ago crew, I've done what you said to do.  I've finished what I started.  Maybe now I've become the "educated idiot" that you warned me about!

I sincerely thank you, Lynnita Brown, for putting me on this very interesting search into memories of long ago.  I was not quite a month old when my father was on this fateful mission.  I do still have his burial flag and his last Air Force dress uniform that his second wife sent to me.  I've also received his enlistment records from the National Personnel Records Center, but still need to acquire his deployment and assignment records if they're available.

1Lt. Charles J. Thevenet Jr.

Lieutenant Thevenet was credited with flying 33 combat missions during World War II.  He served as a bombardier/navigator with the 547th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy).  Born November 27, 1920, he died May 26, 1999.  He and his wife Bettie E. Thevenet are buried in Seminole Cemetery, Seminole, Florida.

SSgt. Jerry M. Webb

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Serial Number 42-94045

This B-29 was shot down by Lt. Col. Aleksandr P. Smorchkov near Namsi airfield.  Last seen in a tight spiral. The aircraft crashed on a mud flat near Namsi, Chagang, North Korea, and was found six days later, on October 29, 1951. The remains of three crew members were recovered. Lt. Walter J. Kurtz, 0948814, interrogated the partisan troops who found the aircraft. There were two bodies under the tail of the crashed aircraft. One was unrecognizable and the other was in good condition, except for three holes in the head. Kurtz surmised that one person was shot after parachuting safely and was then placed near the aircraft by North Korean troops.  At least three crew members were taken prisoner of war.

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Crew Members:

  • Gallant, James Alvin - MIA

  • Hays, Melvin Blaine - MIA

  • Horner, John Joseph - MIA

  • Hudson, Laurence Harold - MIA

  • Johnson, Gerald Emmett - POW

  • Johnson, Johnny Menlo - POW

  • Krumm, Capt. Robert Mitchell (pilot) - MIA

  • Marshall, Isreal Jr. - KIA

  • McAdoo, Ernest Robert - MIA

  • Newswanger, Quentin L. - KIA

  • Nutting, John Mainard - KIA

  • Osborne, Jess Alan Jr. - POW

  • Poynor, 1Lt. Con Foley - MIA

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In Memoriam - Crew Members

Gallant, A/1c James Alvin -

Born October 10, 1931, he was born in Williamstown, Ohio, son of Harold Allen and Kathryn Elizabeth Gallant.  His mother later married Robert Claphan.  James graduated from Dola, Ohio High School and then attended military schools at Lowry AFB, Colorado (primary weapons, August 1950); Lowry AFB (flexible gunnery, January 1951).  He was not married.  According to Air Force Manual 200-25, "There was sufficient time between the emergency and the crash for the crew members to abandon the B-29.  Therefore, it is possible that the Communists have knowledge of Airman Gallant's fate."

Hays, A/2c Melvin Blaine "Spud" -

Born August 18, 1920, in Britton, South Dakota, he was the son of Joseph Henry and Pansy Hays of Elkton, Oregon.  He was the husband of Nellie Emma Hays and the father of Melvin H. Hays.  He attended grammar school in Britton in 1934.  After joining the Air Corps, he took training at the following military schools:  Laredo, Texas (flexible gunnery, 1942); Lowry Field, Colorado (aircraft armorer school, 1943); Camp Carson, Colorado (SAC Survival School, July 1951).  His previous occupation was that of galvanizer.  Like Gallant, the Communists might have knowledge of Airman Hays' fate.

Horner, 1Lt. John Joseph -

Born March 29, 1924, in Swedesboro, New Jersey, he was the son of Warren S. and Eva R. Horner of Swedesboro.  He graduated from Camden, New Jersey high school in 1942 and then attended a half year of college in 1942 at the Lawrence Institute of Technology in Michigan.  A former electric welder, he was divorced from Norinne V. Horner.  He served in the U.S. Navy in the Zone of Interior from January 1943 to December of 1945.  He attended military schools in Jacksonville, Florida (Class-A, mechanic, Navy, August 1943); Chicago, Illinois (Class-B, advanced engineering, Navy, November 1945); Memphis, Tennessee (instructor school, Navy, October 1946 and July 1949); Vance AFB, Oklahoma (basic and advanced pilot, December 1950); and Randolph AFB, Texas (pilot, June 1951).  It is possible that Communists know Horner's fate.

Hudson, 1Lt. Laurence Harold -

Born November 20, 1921, in Brooklyn, New York, he was the son of William N. and Alice Hudson of New York, New York.  He was the husband of Gloria Marie Hudson, Clearwater Beach, Florida.  He attended the following civilian schools: Public School No. 170, Brooklyn, 1935; Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, 1939; and Pace Institute, New York, New York, 1948.  He attended the following military schools: Amarillo, Texas (airplane mechanic, March 1943); Boeing Aircraft, Washington (airplane mechanic, May 1943); Montana State College (cadet training detachment, January 1944); Santa Ana, California (preflight navigation, March 1944); Kingman, Arizona (serial gunnery, May 1944); Kirtland Field, New Mexico (advanced bombardier, December 1944); Boca Raton, Florida (radar, March 1943); Ellington AFB, Texas (radar observer, refresher, March).

Johnson, A/2c Gerald Emmett -

Born March 17, 1933, in Youngstown, Ohio, his home address was Arcadia, Pennsylvania at the time he went missing.  He was the son of Charles Lewis Johnson (1904-1983) and Virginia Dare Kerr Johnson (1912-1982) of Arcadia.  He was not married.  His siblings were Gilbert Zane (1932-2015) and Theodore A. (1929-2017).He attended grammar school in Youngstown (1946) and high school in Arcadia, Pennsylvania (1950).  He was senior patrol leader in Boy Scouts.  After joining the Air Force he took training at Lowry AFB, Colorado (primary weapons, November 1950).

Johnson, M/Sgt. Johnny Menlo -

Born December 18, 1918, in Norse, Texas, he was the son of Will L. and Matilda Johnson of San Angelo, Texas.  He attended grammar school in Milburn, Texas and graduated from Milburn High School in 1935.  He attended military school at the Missouri Aviation Institute (engine mechanic, March 1942); Chanute AFB, Illinois (flight engineer, ground phase, February 191); Camp Carson, Colorado (SAC Survival School, July 1951).  His previous occupation was carpenter and riveter.  During World War II he served in the European Theater, North Africa, and Trinidad.  He was in Soviet custody as a POW.

X-BRADY MAN MISSING WITH HEAVY BOMBER - "Tech-Sgt Johnny M. Johnson 33, son of Mr. and Mrs. Will Johnson, 831 E. 20th is missing in action with his heavy bomber crew after his fifth mission over Korea, the Defense Department has notified his parents. Johnson is a combat veteran of World War II, heavily decorated, and has been in the Air Force 11 years. He has been in Korea since mid-September, and was reported missing on October 23. His parents moved here from Brady two years ago, and he formerly worked in Brady as a truck driver. He was discharged after World War II in 1945, but re-entered the Air Force in 1947. His decorations include the Air Medal with 4 clusters, ETO ribbon with 7 battle stars, and Distinguished Unit Badge with 3 clusters. Two of Sgt. Johnson's brothers are also in service now, they are S/SGT. William L. Johnson and CPL. Olson Curtis Johnson."

Krumm, Capt. Robert Mitchell -

Born March 30, 1918 in Atkins, Iowa, Capt. Robert Mitchell Krumm was the son of Jacob N. Krumm (1891-1966) and Grace E. Krumm (1896-1965).  His home address was Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  He attended high school in Van Horne, Iowa (1935); Penn State, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (extension course, 1/2 year, 1942); and Spartan School of Aeronautics, Tulsa, Oklahoma (1947).  He was formerly a carpenter and crop duster.  After entering the military he took training at the following military schools: Maxwell Field, Alabama (pre-flight pilot, October 1942); Decatur, Alabama (primary, February 1943); Walnut Ridge, Arkansas (basic, April 1943); Seymour, Indiana (advanced, May 1943); Lockbourne, Louisiana (4-engine, B-17, July 1943).

He and his wife Aline M. (Sally) had no children.  His siblings were Dorothy, Irene, Donald, Edmond, and Casey.  Donald and Edmond were pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Donald was killed in a bomber plane training accident in California in March of 1943.  The Krumm family was grieving over his death when they received news that Robert was missing in action.  He was declared dead in 1954.

In Loving Memory of Captain Robert Mitchell Krumm

Captain Robert Mitchell Krumm was killed in action Tuesday, October 23, 1951 over the South China Sea.  He was 33 years old.  Captain Krumm was a member of the 307th Bomber Squadron based in Kadena, Okinawa.

He was born in Van Home on March 30, 1918, to Jacob and Grace Mitchell Krumm.  He was survived by his wife Sally, his parents, brothers Edmond (Roberta) and Keith (Corrine), sisters Ilene (Frank) Novak, and Dorothy (Robert) Gaines.  He was preceded in death by his brother Donald.

Bob was a fun-loving adventurer.  He enjoyed motorcycles, sports, and was a member of the Van Home baseball and basketball teams in high school.  He was a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). 

His true love was flying and prior to World War II, he operated a crop dusting service where he honed his flying skills.  He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on February 10, 1941.  After graduating from flight school, he was stationed in England with the 8th Bomber Group.  He completed 25 missions over Germany, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy.  His plane, the Flak Dodger, was shot down and he crash landed in Sweden where he and his crew were interned as guests of the Swedish government.  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, and seven Oak Leaf Clusters.

After the war, he returned home and resumed his crop dusting business.  He remained on active reserve in the newly formed United States Air Force and was recalled to active duty when the Korean War began.  Captain Krumm was flying a bombing missions which would later be known as "Black Tuesday Over Namsi."  It was the first time Russian MiGs were used to attack the American bombers.  The faster MiGs decimated the squadron.  Of the nine B-29s that took off that day, only three returned.  Bob's plane crash landed on the beach.  Six of the crew members' bodies were recovered, but five (including Captain Krumm's) were never found.

None of us ever got the chance to meet Uncle Bob.  We've heard many wonderful stories about this amazing man from our parents, families and friends.  His parents were still feeling the pain of losing their other son Donald (killed in a flight training mission in March of 1943) when Bob was declared deceased.  They declined the full military service for Robert, being too painful to relive.  Although it's 60 years later, we feel he still deserves this honor.  Our family invites all to honor this man who so gallantly laid his life on the alter of freedom.  Full military rites will be held at Cedar Memorial on August 6, 2016 at 10 a.m.

Marshall, Pfc. Isreal Jr. -

Born August 19, 1932, he was from Jacksonville, Florida.

McAdoo, SSgt. Ernest Robert -

Born July 27 1932, in Josephine, Pennsylvania, he was the son of William Emerson and Anna Marie McAdoo of Black Lick, Pennsylvania.  He attended civilian schools: Grammar School, Black Lick (1947) and Blairsville, Pennsylvania high school three years, 1950).  After joining the military he had schooling at Lowry AFB, Colorado (primary weapons, December 1950).  He was not married.

Newswanger, TSgt. Quentin L. "Curly" -

Born March 24, 1924, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, he was the only child of Harry Ellsworth Newswanger (1891-1942) and Winona Ressler Newswanger (1896-1977).  His widow Doris Newswanger later remarried to Eugene Peiffer and they live in Quarryville.  There is an empty grave for Quentin in Quarryville Cemetery, Quarryville, Pennsylvania.  A 1942 graduate of Quarryville High School, he was an all-around athlete who was a great basketball and baseball player.  He attended Franklin & Marshall College.  He served in Europe during World War II with the 95th Bomb Group.  He was assigned to the B-17 (#42-97334) known as "H-A-A-RD Luck".  He was a postal carrier who had hoped to become a postal inspector.  When the Korean War broke out, he was recalled to military service and was sent to MacDill AFB in March 1951.  He left for Okinawa in September of 1951 and was MIA (status later changed to KIA) during Black Tuesday.

Nutting, Capt. John Mainard -

Born January 23, 1916, he was from North Leeds, Maine.  He was a son of John Mainard Nutting Sr. (1889-1940) and Teresa Estelle Gavin Nutting (1890-1976).  His siblings were Willis Nutting and Dorothy Nutting Pettengill (1920-2014).  There is a marker for him in the Fairview Cemetery, Leeds, Maine.

Osborne, A/2c Jess Alan Jr. -

Born September 27, 1931 in Dante, Virginia, he was the son of Jess Alan Osborne Sr. and Gilie Mae Hall Osborne of Castlewood, Virginia.  He attended grammar school (1944) and high school (1948) in Castlewood.  He then attended military school at Lowry AFB, Colorado (reciprocating mechanic, June 1951) and SAC Survival School (July 1951).  He was not married.  His former occupation was auto service man.

Poynor, 1Lt. Con Foley "C.F." -

Born on July 17, 1918 in Gorman, Texas, he was the son of Murry Middleton Poynor (1878-1934) and Pearl Zella Malear Poynor (1880-1955).  His wife's name was Helen Mae Keating Poynor.  When he went missing in action, he had a 10-year old son, Paul Owen Poynor, born in 1944.  His siblings were Aubrey Lee Poynor (1906-1993) and Ola B. Poynor (1903-1982).  Con was a 1934 graduate of Ranger High School, Ranger, Texas.  After high school he attended Hanger Junior College.  He attended the University of Texas for three and a half years before enlisting in the U.S. Air Corps in 1941.  He flew 31 missions overseas in England during World War II.  When he came home he went into the Reserves and worked for an oil company in the Ranger, Texas area.  He was called back into service in March of 1951 and was sent to Okinawa in September 1941.  There is a marker for him in the Colony Cemetery, Morton Valley, Eastland County, Texas.

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Serial Number 44-27347

This B-29 crashed at Kimpo Airfield in South Korea.  Loss of aircraft, but no fatalities.

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Crew Members:

  • Cartwright, 1Lt. Oma B.

  • Cummings, T/Sgt. Archibald M. - flight engineer

  • Dickerson, Cpl. Paul S. - right gunner

  • Galloway, Cpl. Jack - left gunner [KWE Note: Not listed on KORWALD as a crew member.]

  • Griner, Maj. William R. - pilot*

  • Iantorno, Cpl. Charles S. - radio operator

  • Laird, 1Lt. Deane F.

  • Markel, Maj. Carroll B.

  • O'Deneal, 1Lt. Pinkney B.

  • Slagowski, S/Sgt. Clyde L. - central fire controller

  • Stainbrook, Cpl. Paul - left gunner (traded places with Sgt. Carl Webb)

  • Thornton, 1Lt. Glenn S.

  • Turner, Cpl. Dewell E. - left gunner

  • Whitaker, Sgt. Bill N. - tail gunner

*Fate put Major Griner in the pilot's seat that day because the regular pilot, Captain Brisey, had sprained his wrist.

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Serial Number 44-61816
"Sit 'N Git"

Lead bomber on the Black Tuesday mission, this B-29 landed safely, but had over 500 bullet holes in it.  There were no fatalities.

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Crew Members:

  • Blumenthal, TSgt. Bernard - radio

  • Brubaker, Capt. Robert

  • Chapman, 1Lt. James - radar

  • Dees, MSgt. Ralph - FE

  • DeJung, Capt. Clifton

  • Denson, Capt. Joe D.

  • Fields, Airman Francis - tail gunner

  • Fogler, Capt. Clarence - pilot

  • Kourafas, 1Lt. Nick  - lead bombardier

  • Ledbetter, Col. Henry - observer

  • Meier, Lt. Fred C. - navigator

  • Miller, Cpl. Rolland - right gunner

  • Pyfrom, Lt. Stan - co-pilot

  • Spivey, Sgt. Fred R. - left gunner

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Serial Number 44-61824

This B-29 was shot up near Namsi, but the plane was not a loss.  According to crew member John Wagenhalls, "The bomb doors on the right side of the aircraft were shattered from cannon fire, while those on the opposite side suffered only minor damage. I was able to wire the pieces of the bomb bay doors in the up position sufficiently to allowed us to fly the aircraft back to Kadena."  There were no fatalities.

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Crew Members

  • Capt. Peter Dempsey (pilot)

  • Capt. John Wagenhalls (bombardier)

  • Capt. Michael V. Aurigemma (navigator)

  • 1Lt. Paul E. Carter (radar)

  • 1Lt. Paul J. James Jr. (co-pilot)

In Memoriam - Crew Members:

Aurigemma, Michael
Carter, Paul E.
Dempsey, Peter -

Peter Dempsey was born June 29, 1920 in Tacoma, Washington.  While serving with the 338th Fighter Squadron during World War II, he was taken prisoner of war.  He was later released.  He is believed to have died June 28, 2008, but this has not been confirmed by the Korean War Educator.

James, Paul J. Jr.
Wagenhalls, John Math -

John Wagenhalls was born on July 7, 1920, and grew up in Glasgow, Montana.  He moved to California at age 20.  He was working on B-24 bombers in Consolidated Aircraft's San Diego factory when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese.  He moved to the Vallejo, California area and worked in shipbuilding until he enlisted in the Army Air Corps.  He flew 32 missions with the 379th Bomb Group's 527th Squadron in Europe.  He received the Distinguished Flying Cross as well as an Air Medal with three clusters.  After his World War II service he married Marie Eirich (1923-2010).  They were parents of two sons, William and Barry (1948-2010).  They also had two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.  John was recalled to service during the Korean War and flew 50 missions with the 307th Bomb Group's 370th Squadron.  After the war he was an industrial arts instructor at Fresno City College until he moved into administration over the vocational education program for Fresno School District.  Mr. Wagenhalls died on May 03, 2015 and is buried in Sanger (California) Cemetery.


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Serial Number 44-70151

This B-29 (the lead bomber in this bombing mission) was damaged by MiG #141 near Namsi Airfield and the crew bailed out in the Chinnampo/Inchon area (Yellow Sea).  Loss.  Thirteen occupants, nine fatalities.  Curtis Bedsole, maintenance crew chief on this aircraft in 1951, made the following entry on the Korean War Project (

"These details of the aircraft's last flight were told to me by the CFC gunner after we both returned to MacDill AFB, Florida in 1952: 151 was targeted by MIG fighters because it was the lead bomber of its group. A large hole was blown in the wing and the plane began descending to the sea. Two enlisted members of the crew refused to bail out (one waist gunner and the flight engineer MSGT Hamblin). The waist gunner froze in his seat and the others in the rear could not get him to jump. They then jumped from the open hatch at the rear bomb bay doors. Sgt Hamblin had often told me and others that he would never be able to bail out of an aircraft. The pilot and co-pilot decided to attempt to ditch the aircraft in the ocean in order to possibly save the two enlisted men's lives. I found one entry that stated that Captain Shields was awarded the Silver Star, but have often wondered if their sacrifice was ever documented properly."

The following account of the airplane loss was found on page 32 of the Air Force Manual No. 200-25, located on the Korean War Project website at

"Sgt. Dougherty's plane, accompanied by two others, departed Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, for a mission over Namsi Airfield, North Korea, on 23 October 1951.  About 0945 hours, while on target approach, the plane was attacked by MiG 15's which damaged the wings and set the number-three engine on fire.  It then headed for islands near Chinhampo and the Inchon area.  At 09477 hours the bailout order was given.  The plane was last seen at 0955, south of Napchongjong. 

The following crew members were rescued from the water: Capt. Ted W. Smith, navigator, A02094056; Capt. Emil B.A. Goldbeck, bombardier, AO2001994; A/2C Stainbrook, gunner; A/1C William A. Cross, central fire control, AF6950944.  Another crewman, Lt. Vretis, was seen in the water but could not be recovered.  He was believed dead.  The reports of those rescued indicate that Capt. Smith saw SSgt. Dougherty bail out, but that Dougherty was not seen thereafter."

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Crew Members:

  • Dougherty, S/Sgt. Joseph Stephen - MIA

  • Goldbeck, Capt. Emil Bruno Amaldo - bombardier - rescued

  • Gross, Capt. William A. - gunner - rescued

  • Hamblin, M/Sgt. Robert Warren - flight engineer - POW/MIA - held in Russia

  • O'Neal, Lt. Col. Julius - observer - MIA/POW held after the war.

  • Penninger, Capt. Roger William - co-pilot - MIA/POW held after the war

  • Shields, Capt. Thomas Lester - pilot - MIA

  • Smith, Capt. Ted W.- navigator - rescued

  • Stainbrook, A/2c Paul E. - gunner - WIA/rescued

  • Vretis, Lt. James George - KIA

  • Wahlgren, Capt. Edward Charles - MIA/POW

  • Webb, A/1c Edward Arvil - MIA/POW

  • West, Cpl. Carl Emmons - MIA/POW held in Russia

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In Memoriam - Crew Members:

S/Sgt. Joseph Stephen Dougherty

Born January 12, 1922 in Erie, Pennsylvania, M/Sergeant Dougherty was survived by wife Marjorie Ruth, and four children ages 5, 4, 3, and 2.  The children were Sharon Denise, Mary Christine, Sheila Maureen, and Joseph S. Dougherty Jr.  He was a World War II and Korean War veteran.  Dougherty was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.  He attended high school in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1939.  In October 1942 he attended gunnery school in Las Vegas.  His previous occupation was office manager and salesman.

Capt. Emil Bruno Amaldo Goldbeck

Born January 09, 1923, Lt. Col. Emil B.A. Goldbeck died May 05, 2002.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  His children were George Amaldo Goldbeck, Patrick Goldbeck, and Mrs. William DeWayne (Jeanette G.) Cantrell (1948-2005).  His first wife and mother of his children was Dorothy "Dottie" Durham (later Mrs. James D. Ward) (1925-2017).  His second wife was Leonora Webb Goldbeck (1920-1988), also buried in Arlington Cemetery.  On January 30, 1963, Goldbeck was one of three survivors of another airplane crash.  He was a navigator on a B-52E Stratofortress when it crashed in snow-covered mountains in northern New Mexico.

Capt. William A. Gross
M/Sgt. Robert Warren Hamblin

Born March 23, 1931 in New York, New York, M/Sergeant Hamblin was the son of Harry and Blanche W. Hamblin of Richmond Hill, New York.  He served in Brazil from December 1942 to December 1944 during World War II.  He was not married.  He attended Richmond Hill High School, Richmond Hill in 1942 and Manhattan High School of Aviation Trades, New York, in 1942.  He was an aircraft metal worker student at Chanute Field in Rantoul, Illinois in December 1942, followed by ground phase school at Chanute in June 1950.  He was awarded the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea War Service Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. 

Ltc. Julius Elliot O'Neal

He was born March 28, 1919 in Fairfax, South Carolina.  His mother was Suzie B. O'Neal of Fairfax.  His widow was Dorothy T. O'Neal and his daughters were Pamela Sarah O'Neal, Barbara Anne O'Neal, and Deborah Jean O'Neal.  O'Neal was the C.O. of the 371st Bomb Squadron.  He attended high school in Fairfax in 1936, followed by The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina in 1940.  He attended Parks Air College, East St. Louis, Illinois (primary flying, November 1940); Gunter Field, Alabama (basic flying, basic flight training February 1941); Barksdale Fld, Louisiana (advanced twin engine flight training, April 1943); Lockbourne Field, Ohio (4-engine instruction, April 1943); AAF Instrument School, Bryan, Texas (instrument pilot training, July 1944); Roswell, New Mexico (B-29 instructor course, March 1945); Air Command and Staff School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama (regular course, December 1949); Langley AFB, Virginia (mobile training unit, Jet B-45, June 1950).  His previous occupation was student and clerk. 

Capt. Roger William Penninger

Born July 20, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois, he was the son of Frank Clay Penninger of Elkhart, Indiana, and Helen Marie Sachtleben Penninger Dunlap of Chicago.  His wife was Phyllis A. Penninger of Elsinore, California.  He attended Harper High School in Chicago and then military schools in Santa Ana, California (pre-flight, November 1943); Tulare, California (primary flight, January 1944); Merced, California (basic flight); Marfa, Texas (advanced flight); Hobbs, New Mexico (4-E transition, B-17); MacDill AFB, Florida (transition training, February 1951).  Hi previous occupation was punch-press operator, spot welder, ranch foreman (walnuts, watermelon and potatoes).

Capt. Thomas Lester Shields -

Capt. Thomas Lester Shields

Born February 11, 1925 in Rockaway Beach, New York, he was the son of John F. and Irene V. Shields of Valley Stream, Long Island, New York.  His wife was Patricia Flarimont Shields Quinn (remarried wife), and his children were John Francis Shields and Kathleen I. Shields.  Captain Shields received a Silver Star as the result of his heroic actions on Black Tuesday.  He was missing in action.

During World War II he participated in the Air Offensive, Japan, Western Pacific.  He graduated from Central High School, Valley Stream, in 1943.  He attended military schools at Maxwell Field, Alabama (pre-flight pilot, February '44); Decatur, Alabama (primary, March 1944); Courtland, Alabama (basic, June 1944); Freeman Field, Indiana (advanced, September 1944); Smyrna, Tennessee (4-engine transition, B-24, February 1945).  He previously owned and operated a tavern.  He was also a commercial pilot.  His hobby was wrestling.

General Orders: Headquarters, Far East Air Forces, General Orders No. 569 (December 4, 1951)

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain Thomas L. Shields, United States Air Force, for gallantry in action against an enemy on 23 October 1951 as Aircraft Commander of a B-29, 370th Bombardment Squadron, 307th Bombardment Wing (Medium), FIFTH Air Force. Captain Shields was leading the third flight of aircraft over the important enemy airfield at Namsi. Twenty miles from the target, after encountering anti-aircraft fire, the formation of B-29s escorted by 50 friendly fighters was attacked by approximately 150 enemy fighters. The ensuing battle was one of the most savage on record during the entire Korean Campaign. Captain Shields' plane was raked by enemy fighter fire. Whole sections of the wings covering the gas tanks were blown away. The number three engine was in flames. The aircraft rolled violently to the right, but through great effort Captain Shields recovered. Refusing the opportunity of an immediate bailout, he flew the aircraft to the coast so as to make the rescue of his crew more probable. Captain Shields was last seen at the controls as his crew bailed out. The superlative skill, exceptional courage, and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Shields were in keeping with the highest traditions of the service, and reflected great credit upon himself, the Far East Air Forces, and the United States Air Force.

Capt. Ted W. Smith
A/2c Paul E. "Smokey" Stainbrook

A 1948 graduate of Trinity High School in Pennsylvania, he enlisted in a one-year program in the U.S. Navy and was stationed on an aircraft carrier.  He then joined the Air Force and participated in Black Tuesday.  He received a shrapnel wound to his leg, but was one of the four lucky ones on the crew that bailed out and made it to safety.  He and his wife Marlene, a retired nurse, have a son Paul (Craig) and a daughter Dana Stainbrook.  Paul Stainbrook, born August 19, 1930 in Washington, Pennsylvania, died January 13, 2018, in Washington. His obituary follows:

Paul E. "Smokey" Stainbrook Jr., 87, of Washington, died Saturday, January 13, 2018, in Presbyterian SeniorCare, Washington. He was born August 19, 1930, in Washington, a son of the late Paul E. Sr. and Hazel Ann Keener Stainbrook. Mr. Stainbrook was a 1948 graduate of Trinity High School. He worked as a measurement regulation technician for Columbia Gas Transmission, from where he retired in 1992. Mr. Stainbrook served in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. His plane was shot down over the Yellow Sea October 23, 1951. He was a member of Sunset Lodge 623 of F&AM, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 927, Edwin Scott Linton Post 175 of the American Legion, Washington, and BPOE 776, Washington.

On September 4, 1954, in Winchester, Va., he married Marlene "Marty" Bebout, who survives. Also surviving are a son, Paul Craig (Laura) Stainbrook of Washington; a daughter, Dana Lee Stainbrook of Washington; two grandchildren, Paul Christopher and Samantha Marilyn Stainbrook; and several nieces. Deceased are a brother, Warren "Bud" Howard Stainbrook; and a sister, Mary Lou Stainbrook Hallam. Interment was in Washington Cemetery.

Lt. James George Vretis

Born November 26, 1925, Lieutenant Vretis was from Rock Island, Illinois.  He was married.  He was awarded the Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, United Nations Service Medal, and Republic of Korea War Service Medal.  The KWE believes (but has not verified) that he was a son of Greek immigrant Frank Vretis (1886-1962) and Fotine (Frances) Gounis Vretis (1889-1974) of Rock Island and the brother of George F. Vretis (1922-1996) and Florence Vretis Baird.

Capt. Edward Charles Wahlgren

Born July 27, 1920, in Brooklyn, New York, Captain Wahlgren was from Valley Stream, New York.  He was the son of Esther Wahlgren of Valley Stream.  His father was deceased.  He was survived by his wife Helen Wahlgren and daughter Cheryl L. Wahlgren of Huntington Station, Long Island, New York.  He attended high school at Valley Stream, graduating in 1938.  He attended military schools: Maxwell Field, Alabama (pre-flight, September 1942); Decatur, Alabama (primary flying, November 1942); Walnut Ridge, Arkansas (basic January 1943); Craig Field, Alabama (advanced flying, January 1943); Ellington Field, Texas (pre-flight, April 1943); Laredo, Texas (flexible gunnery, July 1943); Midland, Texas (bombardier, October 1943); Boca Raton, Florida (radar, July 1945).  He was a former bank clerk who was also a commercial pilot.  One of his classmates from Central High School, Valley Stream, was Captain Thomas Lester Shields, pilot of the ill-fated B-29 lost on Black Tuesday.  Both men were missing in action and later declared deceased.

A/1c Edward Arvil "Eddie" Webb

Born September 15, 1932, in Warner, Oklahoma, he was the son of Earnest Arvil and Jackie Geraldine Webb of Oktaha, Oklahoma.  He was not married.  He attended high school in Oktaha for three years (1947).  He attended military school at Lowry AFB, Colorado (primary weapons, general, November 1950).

Cpl. Carl Emmons West

Carl Emmons West was born November 16, 1932, in Huntington, West Virginia, son of Doy Emmons and Gladys Eloise West. He was not married.  Carl had a twin sister, Mary Lou. Other siblings included Eleanor and Ray. Carl grew up In Jackson County where his father was a salesman in a hardware store and his mother taught in a one-room schoolhouse.

Carl graduated from Ravenswood High School where he played the snare drum in the band; it was said he loved to wear the uniform so much that he would attend out-of-town performances without informing his family. In 1949, Carl played in the National Future Farmers of America band in Kansas City.

Soon after graduation in 1950, Carl enlisted in the Air Force. He attended military school at Lowry AFB, Colorado (primary weapons, December 1950).  He became a tailgunner on B-29s in North Korea. On October 23, 1951, the day of his death, Carl, a replacement on an 11-man crew, was taking part in one of those missions. His assignment that day was waist gunner, which meant manning a .50-caliber machine gun located on the side of the fuselage in the middle of the airplane.

The B-29 was hit by a MiG-15, resulting in damage to one of the right wing engines. Seven crew members bailed out, four of whom survived. Carl West was not one of them. Emil Goldbeck, the airplane’s bombardier, speculated that perhaps Carl chose to take his chances with the airplane.

Carl’s body was never recovered, but on December 31, 1953, he was declared dead. His twin sister had a plaque made and placed at the foot of her parents’ graves in Ravenswood Cemetery.

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Serial Number 44-86295
"Police Action"

This B-29 was shot up at Namsi and crash landed at Kimpo Airfield, South Korea.  The navigator was the only crew member killed in action. Loss of aircraft.

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Crew Members:

  • Bisson, Sgt. N.T. - Wounded in action
  • Carroll, Col. John W. - observer
  • Charnall, Capt. John F.
  • Edwards, Capt. Morton G. - navigator  - the only fatality
  • Gretchen, Sgt. J.E.
  • McQuade, Capt. James R.
  • Reeter, Lt. William E. "Bill" Reeter - pilot
  • Richards, Cpl. D.D.
  • Turpin, Cpl. Randy
  • Walters, Sgt. H.L. - Wounded in action
  • Williamson, Capt. Monte C.
  • Wilson, Sgt. E.L.
  • Victor, Sgt. Russell B.

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In Memoriam - Crew Member

Capt. Morton G. Edwards

Morton G. Edwards
Wichita, Kansas
Born November 4, 1924
Captain, U.S. Air Force
Service Number AO716392
Killed in Action
Died October 23, 1951 in Korea
Buried in Arlington National Cemetery

Captain Edwards was a crew member of a B-29A Superfortress with the 372th Bomber Squadron, 307th Bomber Wing based at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.

On October 25, 1951, while on a combat mission, his aircraft was attacked by enemy MiGs and he was killed on board. Captain Edwards was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

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Serial Number 44-86395

This B-29 was the "spare" aircraft on the mission, used when the regularly scheduled B-29 was aborted due to engine trouble.  It was known as "Charlie Two" in the Namsi mission.

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Crew Members (incomplete):

  • Maj. Don Field (pilot)

  • Sgt. Edward Moore (radio operator)

  • MSgt. Francis Kroboth (flight engineer)


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Black Tuesday over Namsi

A book written by Lt. Col. Earl J. McGill (USAF Ret.) provides insight into Black Tuesday.  His book is entitled: Black Tuesday Over Namsi: B-29s vs MiGs - The Forgotten Air Battle of the Korean War, 23 October 1951.  Order information for the book can be found at the end of this sketch.

An hour and a half before sunup, nine B-29s of the 307th Bombardment Wing lifted off from Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa on a bombing mission against Namsi, a North Korean airfield under construction in the heart of MiG Alley. Five and a half hours later, they would engage in an air battle that would forever change the conduct of strategic aerial bombardment. Six of the nine would not return; the highest percentage of United States bombers ever lost on a major mission.

Astonishingly, virtually nothing has been published about this event. Official Air Force historical records mention it only in passing and literature of the period too often emphasizes the gung ho aspect than the grim reality of war.

Black Tuesday Over Namsi chronicles the calamitous B-29 daylight-bombing mission flown by the 307th Bombardment Wing on 23 October 1951 against Namsi Airfield. What many experts consider the epic air battle of the Korean War and perhaps the greatest jet engagement in the history of aerial warfare has largely become another forgotten battle in a forgotten war. Here, Lt. Col McGill presents the facts and circumstances of the mission from first briefing to final landing.

This book also records, from verifiable historical documents, the broader events and conditions that led up to the confrontation, plus the first-hand accounts of aircrew members and ground personnel who were there. Allied and Soviet perspectives are examined; statements made by the MiG pilots describe the attack; and eyewitnesses to the event have supplied photographs of the mission and its aftermath, including the aerial photo of the Namsi Airfield that was used to plan the mission. This thoroughly researched narrative history is enhanced by numerous photographs, a bibliography, and an index to full names, places and subjects.

This is the story of the Americans and Russians who clashed in the skies above Namsi, the events leading up to it, Black Tuesday's historical impact on aerial warfare, and, for the first time, fresh conclusions based on a careful analysis of the specific factors that went into the execution of this and other bombing missions.

Order Information -

  • Kindle $11,49
  • hard cover $98.43
  • paperback $20.52
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Helion & Company; Reprint edition (September 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909384380
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909384385
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces

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